When a patient has a severe toothache or is experiencing sensitivity, it is likely the tooth’s enamel has been breached. In some instances, the tooth may be decayed and a filling is the prescribed treatment. However, if infection is present, the patient is likely going to need a root canal.
A root canal, also known as endodontic therapy, is a procedure where the canals of the infected tooth are opened and the contents of the canal are removed. This is done by creating a small opening in the tooth and entering the canal. After accessing the canal, another instrument called a file is used. Of course, this is a simplistic explanation … there are more steps needed.
The whole purpose for undergoing a root canal is to save a viable tooth.
The file literally spins the contents in the canal around the device until everything can be removed. The canal consists of pulp, nerve tissue, and sometimes infectious material. After each canal is treated, the area is flushed to remove any remaining matter. If the tooth is to be sealed right away, the canal is filled with a rubbery substance called gutta percha. This provides stability for the tooth.
Each canal of the infected tooth must be treated. If a canal is missed or all infection is not removed, the patient may develop an abscess. An x-ray is taken prior to starting the root canal to verify the number of roots that need to be treated.
Sealing the tooth following root canal therapy can be done with a filling, but for a tooth that has been subjected to earlier repair, the likely restoration will be in the form of a crown.
The whole purpose for undergoing a root canal is to save a viable tooth. Once a tooth has erupted, the nerve serves no useful purpose. Removing the nerve and pulp of the tooth will not cause the tooth to “die”. The tooth will not become shriveled or fall out. In fact, once the treated tooth has been sealed, it will not look or feel any different than before.
Without root canal therapy, the patient is often faced with extraction to resolve the problem. Since keeping our natural teeth is always a better solution than the alternative, a root canal should be performed if recommended by your dentist in grand prairie.